Calamari Recipe


5 from 4 votes
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This crispy and crunchy calamari recipe features fresh squid lightly breaded with panko, then baked until every piece is crispy and golden. Serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce, and dig in!


If you crave the crunch of breaded seafood dishes, like coconut shrimp, salmon croquettes, and tuna croquettes, then you’ll love this baked calamari recipe!

I gave this popular appetizer an upgrade by skipping the heavy deep fryer oil. The squid is lightly breaded with panko, then baked until each piece is satisfyingly crunchy, tender, and succulent.

Baking calamari instead of frying isn’t the traditional way of preparing this delicious appetizer. It’s an even easier cooking method that helps you skip the deep fryer oil, greasy bites, and messy kitchen! Keep this recipe in your back pocket whenever you need an easy party snack or appetizer for your seafood dinner. 

Table of Contents
  1. What is calamari?
  2. Is calamari octopus or squid?
  3. Why you’ll love this crispy calamari recipe
  4. Ingredients needed
  5. How to cook calamari
  6. Tips to make the best recipe
  7. What to serve with this dish
  8. Storage instructions
  9. Recommended tools to make this recipe
  10. More seafood appetizers
  11. Frequently asked questions 
  12. Crispy Calamari Recipe

What is calamari?

“Calamari” is a culinary term that describes the edible body and tentacles of various squid species. This seafood delicacy is known for its tender, pleasantly chewy texture and delicate sweet flavor. Calamari is typically breaded and fried, but it’s also suitable for grilling, sauteing, and adding to soups, salads, and seafood pasta

Is calamari octopus or squid?

Calamari is always made from squid. Octopus is an entirely different species of the cephalopod family and is prepared and used in very different dishes.

Why you’ll love this crispy calamari recipe

  • It’s surprisingly simple! My calamari recipe is almost as easy as throwing a bag of frozen calamari in the oven. All you need to do is hand-bread the calamari, then bake them in the oven until they’re crunchy and golden!
  • Basic ingredients. This beloved seafood recipe calls for the simplest ingredients you can find at well-stocked grocery stores or in your own pantry.
  • Baked instead of fried. By baking the calamari instead of frying, you get to skip the heavy deep fryer oil and greasy mess. 
fried calamari.

Ingredients needed

Here’s everything you need to make hand-breaded and baked calamari:

  • Fresh calamari. You can buy whole fresh squid or calamari tubes for this recipe. If you opt for a whole squid, buy a small to medium-sized cleaned squid, as they tend to be more tender and flavorful. Also, make sure the tubular-shaped body and tentacles are firm, glossy, and free of any funky odors and slime.
  • Olive oil. This keeps the meat moist as it cooks.
  • Lemon juice. To tenderize and enhance the flavor.
  • Panko breadcrumbs. These light and airy breadcrumbs give the calamari a more satisfying crunch compared to regular breadcrumbs.
  • Dry spices. Salt, oregano, and black pepper are used to season the panko breading. You can experiment with more spices, like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, or cayenne, if you want to play with or enhance the flavors.

How to cook calamari

Follow these instructions to cook perfectly crispy calamari without deep frying: 

Step 1 – Soak the squid

Mix the olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Submerge the calamari in the marinade and let it soak for 30 minutes. 

soaking squid.

Step 2 – Season the breadcrumbs

Stir the panko, salt, oregano, and black pepper together in a bowl. 

calamari breading.

Step 3 – Bread the squid

Working in batches, dredge the marinated calamari in the seasoned panko.

how to cook calamari.

Step 4 – Bake and serve

Place the breaded calamari on a baking sheet, and bake until the breading is crisp and golden brown.

breaded calamari.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges, and enjoy!

calamari steak.

Air fryer calamari

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F/200°C. 
  2. Arrange the breaded squid in a single layer inside the air fryer basket. 
  3. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through. 

Deep fried calamari

  1. Fill the deep fryer or a large pot with cooking oil. 
  2. Once it’s heated to 350°F/175°C, carefully lower a small portion of the breaded calamari into the fryer and cook until crispy and golden. 
  3. Drain the fried calamari on a paper-towel-lined plate, then repeat with the remaining pieces. 

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Don’t skip the soak! Marinating squid in olive oil and lemon juice is the key to achieving soft and flavorful meat. The calamari will be rubbery without it.
  • Bake in a single layer. Place the calamari in a single layer on the baking sheet, making sure there’s room in between each piece. This way, the heat will circulate evenly around the calamari, helping it brown and crisp.
  • Bake on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. This is optional, but can leave you with extra crispy baked calamari!

What to serve with this dish

Lemon wedges and a platter of dipping sauces, like marinara, aioli, and tartar sauce, are a must when serving calamari to guests. As for sides, pair the squid with a vibrant mixed green salad, cooked veggies (like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, or asparagus), and crusty garlic bread.

Storage instructions

To store: Transfer the leftover calamari to an airtight container, keeping every layer separated with paper towels. Store in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.

To reheat: Warm the leftovers on a baking sheet in a 350°F/175°C oven until heated through and crispy. 

  • Mixing bowls. Large and medium-sized mixing bowls are needed to marinate the calamari and mix the seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • Baking sheets. To bake the breaded calamari.
baked squid.

More seafood appetizers

Frequently asked questions 

Can you prep squid for calamari ahead of time?

Yes, you can start preparing the squid 1 day ahead of baking the calamari. To do so, clean and cut the squid, soak it in the marinade, and coat it in the breadcrumbs. Place the breaded squid on a baking sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

What does calamari taste like?

Calamari has a unique seafood taste, often described as subtly sweet and briny, with a flavor similar to the sea scallops. When cooked properly, it has a tender, yet slightly chewy texture. 

Where can you buy squid for fried calamari?

You can usually find it in fish and seafood markets, fishmongers, well-stocked grocery stores, and Asian markets.

calamari recipe.

Crispy Calamari Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Crunchy baked calamari is always a crowd-pleasing snack! Fresh squid is lightly breaded with panko, then baked until every piece is crispy and golden. Serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce, and dig in!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 27 minutes


  • 14 ounces calamari rings and tentacles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon juices
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 220C/440F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and place the calamari in it to marinate for at least 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
  • Mix panko bread crumbs, salt, oregano, and black pepper in a bowl. Dredge the calamari in the mixture to coat it evenly.
  • Place the calamari on the lined tray and bake for 25 minutes until they turn golden brown.
  • Serve immediately.


TO STORE: Transfer the leftover calamari to an airtight container, keeping every layer separated with paper towels. Store in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
TO REHEAT: Warm the leftovers on a baking sheet in a 350°F/175°C oven until heated through and crispy. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 18gFat: 9gSodium: 736mgPotassium: 319mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 48IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 15g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Looks yummy! I’ll need to nix the panko, for gluten free reasons, so will try with ground pork rinds. Hope it works as well as your original recipe.